HOW DO SINGERS TAKE CARE OF THEIR VOICE?
Singers are athletes too and that means treating our voices, and our bodies, with care so that our voices function at optimal performance when we most need them to.
I know that taking proper care of your voice can easily be neglected if you’re busy juggling a hectic schedule but it’s *really* important. So, if you’re thinking about setting your 2021 goals and improving your vocal health is top of your list, then there’s no better time than a New Year to implement new practices and routines.
But it can be difficult to decide what to do for the best. There are no strict rules or guidelines and if you search Google or Pinterest you’ll find a ton of posts on vocal health tips and advice. But it's largely personal preference based on what works best for them.
So, to cut the confusion, I’ve compiled a list of 6 things to consider when building a vocal health regime. I’d recommend tackling one of these a month so that by the end of 2021 you’ll know how to take care of your voice.
Hi, I'm Rebecca! And I truly love everything about the art, science, and teaching of singing. If you're looking to build an effective and healthier singing technique so that you can sing with more ease and confidence, then you're in the right place! Here's a few other blog posts you might also like to read:
How to relieve hay fever symptoms and keep singing
My Winter Vocal Health Routine: 5 things I do to keep my voice healthy
4 alternative therapies that will improve your posture for singing
And of course, grab a copy of my ultimate vocal health starter guide where I'll share how to create a vocal health routine and reset your voice in 14-days!
1 | LIFESTYLE
All the books I’ve ever read on vocal health start off by saying that living a healthy lifestyle as a singer includes not smoking and not drinking alcohol. And whilst I agree with this - and follow these principles myself - I think the most important, and slightly overlooked, lifestyle habit a singer can do is to make sure that you’re getting enough sleep each night.
By implementing a sleep routine that works for you means that you are going to be physically and mentally rested, which means you’ll have the energy, stamina, and mental clarity to perform at optimal levels. I even find that sleep (not enough or the right amount) will also impact how effective my practice is.
>>Related<< How to Sleep Better
2 | ENVIRONMENT
Your environment is an important consideration as it can change from season to season or climate to climate if you’re travelling. And you may find that a lot of the time regulating your environment is out of your control.
Heating and air conditioning can be very drying on the voice, and if you don’t stay properly hydrated, can lead to colds, which no singer ever wants!
You can minimise the impact of drying on your voice by avoiding having the heating or air conditioning on too high. So, in the winter, choosing to wear more layers or in the hotter months/climates opening windows or using electric fans instead.
Placing a bowl of water where you’re working and/or sleeping can help to replace moisture in the air and prevent your voice from drying out too much.
3 | STAY HYDRATED
Staying hydrated should be the #1 priority for singers. I could talk about this to the cows come home! But there have been studies that show that vocal quality is dramatically affected even if a singer is only slightly dehydrated.
More importantly, the vocal cords need a moist and hydrated surface in order to properly phonate, otherwise, you increase friction and the likelihood of developing serious vocal problems.
Medical advice says that you should drink at least 8 glasses (2 litres) a day. Water is preferable but tea and coffee also serve as adequate hydration sources. However, some singers avoid any type of caffeinated drink. My advice to you is fluids other than water should be drunk in moderation.
For more tips on how to stay hydrated take a look at a recent article I wrote.
4 | EXERCISING
Regular physical exercise can help a singer develop vocal stamina, increase lung capacity, and help to reduce excess tension, which can affect your voice.
For best results, combine cardio/aerobic exercise with muscle strengthening and lengthening exercises, like Yoga, Pilates, and Tai Chi.
Avoid any heavy weight lifting or stomach crunches as these types of exercise create tension, especially in the torso and upper body, and can negatively impact your voice. Tension is the #1 enemy to the singer!
If you want to know more about what types of cardio/aerobic exercise works best for singing, take a look at my free guide Singer’s Guide to Aerobic Exercise.
5 | WARMING UP THE VOICE
Whilst speaking helps to warm up the vocal muscles, it’s extremely important to properly warm up your voice before practising or performing. No exceptions! Always build time on your practice days to properly warm up your voice.
Ideally, you want to start off gently preparing your voice for singing by exercising your voice at a comfortable pitch and slowly expanding throughout your range.
You should also structure your practice so that you choose songs that first sit comfortably in your middle voice, then move on to more complicated songs, which use your upper or lower voice and finish with lighter songs as a way of cooling down.
The voice, like any other muscle in your body, can easily get out of share, so warming up every day is essential for keeping your voice in good order. Depending on your voice, you should be exercising it 4-6 times per week and you should allow 1-2 days for rest. Small bursts of 10-minutes work best.
*Pro Tip | Wear a scarf after your practice - this helps to keep the voice at a more consistent temperature, especially during the winter months.
>>Related<< Ultimate Guide to Vocal Health
6 | RESTING
Resting your voice seems counterintuitive to most singers, but for vocal longevity, it’s important to take a break from vocalising every now and then.
Singing is quite demanding on the vocal cords, and whilst they’re fairly robust, resting your voice regularly will just allow time for the voice to repair and will reduce the likelihood of you developing more serious vocal problems.
Ideally, you want to be resting for 7-14 days, depending on a number of factors. For more on how to rest your voice properly, take a look at my free step-by-step guide to vocal reset.
There you have it. 6 ways singers take care of their voice. I hope that this has been helpful and helps you construct a vocal health regime that’s going to serve you in 2021.
If you haven’t, take a look at my post on how to set your goals in 2021 to help you set up a plan that works for both you and your voice.
And don't forget to grab your freebie:
The Ultimate Vocal Health Guide
- a 14-day plan to help you improve your voice!
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